Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving Day and More . . .

Thursday and Friday,
November 28-29, 2019

Thanksgiving, a day for family, football and food in the USA!

Our Thursday began early when visitors from Oxnard arrived at our house.

Cousins Kevin and Jacob
starting a fun two days together

Brothers Andy and Mike
enjoyed the last two days as well

On Thursday afternoon, we all dressed up and headed to my Mother's home in San Marino, California for our traditional Contreras Family Thanksgiving Feast.

With the grandkids at my
Mother's home

From left to right: Kevin, Poppo, Mary, Gigi and Jacob

 Andy lifting out the moist
bacon wrapped
Thanksgiving Turkey

The grandkids were joined by
their second cousins Max and Leo

 My Mother Chuny was the
first one seated for dinner

Jacob, Mary,
Great-grandmother Chuny and Kevin

Sharing a moment with
Princess Mary

Laurie and my sister Linda
with Max seated for dinner

My sister Linda does most of the work every year for Thanksgiving. Tonight's meal might have been her best ever.

Love couple in the kitchen

Mary with one of the cookies
that Aunt Jenn had specially made
for each child

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving indeed!

As if we had not had enough to eat,
we stopped at Rolling Pin Donuts
in Camarillo on the way home

Such decadence!

 Friday morning breakfast at
Cronies in Camarillo

Their breakfast burritos never disappoint us.

Michael and I decided to walk
home from Cronies to work off
a few of the accumulated calories
we absorbed the last two days

We past this museum on the
way home

It had a nice mural depicting
Old Town Camarillo

Kevin and Jacob playing
video games together

More cousin bonding later
in the day during the
Washington-Washington State
Apple Cup Game broadcast

The Huskies won the Apple Cup
for the 7th straight year

Italian DII is now up to 20
teams in 2020

The current total includes one team that is dropping down from DI, five teams that are moving up from DIII and 14 clubs who return from the 2019 DII circuit.

The 20 teams that have declared to be part of the 2020 DII season is one more than what we had for DII play in 2019.

EuroBall Experience XVI
starts late tonight

Our son Mike will be driving me to the Los Angeles International Airport late tonight so that I can catch a 12:05 a.m. Saturday flight to Mexico City for yet another American football experience.

This time I'll be helping coach the first ever Women's Europe Warriors team that will face the Mexican National Women's team in Mexico City on Saturday, December 7th at Estadio Wilfrido Massieu.

This Warriors team will be composed of 35 women from seven different countries.

This should be an interesting week, stay tuned . . .

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Quiet Day Before Thanksgiving Day

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The absolute best thing about today was that Jenn, Andy and Kevin arrived at Casa Contreras from Las Vegas for Thursday's traditional Thanksgiving meal at my Mother's home in San Marino.

Let the good times roll!

 I leave this weekend for our next
Europe Warriors experience, a Women's
game in Mexico City, against
Mexico's National Team

 2020 Italian DII Update

We now have 15 clubs that have
declared their intentions to
play in DII next season

We had 24 teams in DII in 2018 and 19 in 2019. There is still about a month left in the period for teams to announce at what level they want to compete in 2020.

To review, Italy has a three divisions of American football. Divisions I and II play 11 man football while DIII, known officially as CIF9, plays the nine-man version of the great game of American football.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Of Doctors, American Football and Family

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

After a scheduled early morning visit to my dermatologist in Camarillo, I realized that it was a BEAUTIFUL day for American football!

With this in mind, I met up with son Michael and grandson Jacob at Pacifica High School (12-1) to watch their practice in preparation for their C.I.F. Division VI Championship game on Saturday night against La Serna High School (13-0) to be played at California High School in Whittier.

 High energy to be sure with
a Championship Ring only one
more win away

 With Pacifica H.S.'s
Head Coach Mike Moon

I coached with Mike for many seasons while on the Rio Mesa H.S. staff together in the early 2000s. Mike is a bright, hard working,  defensive oriented coach who I consider a great coaching colleague.

Good Luck Saturday Night!

Jacob and Mike at Pacifica H.S.

Lunch at Marshall's Bodacious BBQ
in Ventura

Jacob loves to read, even during lunch, and I have no desire to stop this worthwhile development in his growing process.

The tri-tip salad was top notch in my opinion.

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Interesting historical read

The last time that I saw loyal blog devotee Paul Sabolic, he commented on how I like to read novels while he reads historical non-fiction tomes.

Thus prodded, I picked up this paperback at a bookshop in the Los Angeles International Airport as I left for London a few days ago.

I learned many new things about "Old Hickory" and this key battle in the War of 1812 of which I was completely unaware.

Thanks Paul.

Travel Day, London to Los Angeles

Monday, November 27, 2019

I had some good news to greet me in the morning, IT'S OFFICIAL . . .

YOUR Varese Skorpions have officially
committed to be in Italy's DII again
this coming season

With our declaration, we now have 14 teams planning on playing in DII in 2020. In 2019 we had 19 teams in DII and there is still plenty of time to make your team's intentions known for the fast approaching campaign.

After the game in Vienna yesterday, I boarded a late flight to London in anticipation of my flight home to California from the UK's capital city this afternoon.

I opted to get up early to take a walking tour of the Kensington Gardens area of the city. To do this, I first wanted to enter the Tube for the underground ride on the Red Line to Noting Hill Gate Station and then transfer to the Green Line bound for the High Street Kensington stop.

Notting Hill Gate station

Exiting the High Street Kensington
Station it was Christmas time

 A nice flower stand on an
overcast day

Remembering . . .

 A random church behind the
flower wreaths

 I liked the look of
that brick building . . .

. . . and this one, too

Bricks everywhere

Our son Mike loves goats

Entering Kensington Gardens

Kensington Palace
the Birthplace of Queen Victoria

The Round Pond

In front of Kensington Palace's
Queen Victoria statue

 Love the leaves changing colors

 Leaves, no leaves

 Another London memorial

A gold cross and a spire

Colorful plants in one of
London's upscale neighborhoods

 Just around the corner
from my hotel

Pub signs in London are
always of interest to me 

After checking out of my hotel, I started the ten minute walk to Paddington Station to catch the Heathrow Express back to the Heathrow Airport but first . . .

. . . I stopped at this pub for
some last minute sustenance

It looked pub-ish to me

A pint of Beavertown Neck Oil IPA
and . . .

. . . an order of Fish and Chips
was the perfect way to end this
visit to London don't you agree?

 Fully sated, it was on to the airport

Christmas at Heathrow Airport
was in full swing

Why is he at Heathrow?

My plane home had Laurie's maiden
name initials above the pilot's windshields

A good omen if you ask me.

The ten hour and 2o minute flight to Los Angeles was relatively painless as I again had my preferred aisle seat and had no one sitting next to me.

Laurie met me at LAX and we were off to the traditional dinner at . . .

. . . Cronies Sports Grille in Camarillo upon returning from a trip to the Continent

While I was flying and Laurie and I were driving, our son Mike and grandson Jacob were at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch the Rams take on the Baltimore Ravens in a Monday Night Football game that the Ravens won easily 45-6.

But for Jacob and Mike, that was definitely not the storyline of their evening.

They arrived to the game early
enough to enjoy theRams' Fun Zone

Because Mike drives a Honda and because Jacob charmed the Honda people at the Fun Zone, they were chosen to come on the field before the game. Jacob would get the opportunity to run onto the field when the opening kickoff was over and retrieve the kickoff tee for the Rams . . . AWESOME!

Jacob with Rampage
the Rams mascot

With Hall of Fame RB
Eric Dickerson

He was Mike's favorite Ram as a child.

With actor Danny Trejo

 Getting his final instructions
from the Ref

Bringing home the
kickoff tee

He had an incredible time from what I could tell.

It's good to be home.